How To Discipline Children Without Spanking or Hitting Them: Parenting Tips Methods and Solutions That Work!
Raising Respectful Children Should Be Fun!
Is There a Way To Discipline Children Without Spanking Them?
Yes there is! Many of us grew up in an era where we were spanked when we misbehaved. In fact, spanking children is mentioned in the Christian Bible that supports such behavior as long as it doesn't result in abuse. But are there ways to get children to respect us instead of fear us?
So how can we rear our children to behave and become respectful? This is perhaps one of the oldest questions humans have asked over time and many cultures have different beliefs. Here are some effective ways to deal with children when they act up.
Communication With Children
Although we probably don't give it a lot of thought, how we communicate with our children paves the way for our relationship with them over time.
Are you a "Yeller"? Do you easily get aggravated and raise your voice to your children when you get angry? Many parents have learned that children respond better to your discipline when you are calm and controlled. When we yell at our kids we are teaching them to get loud when they get mad. It is the same principle as hitting children when we are angry: We send them a message that it is OK to hit someone when we are mad.
Let's look at an example. Johnny comes home from school with a letter from his teacher because he hit another boy during recess. You read the note and you get very angry! You start to yell at little Johnny and since he doesn't seem to take it seriously, you give him a whack on his behind!
Stop there! You just hit Johnny because he hit another kid? Isn't that a double negative and doesn't it teach the same behavior that you are trying to change? Fighting Fire with Fire Does Not Always Put Out The Fire!
All Children Are Different!
The most effective ways to communicate with your children are to sit down with them calmly and discuss what is expected of them and the consequences of their own actions and words.
By allowing the child to make their own decisions you empower them to have self control and they will realize that they control whether or not they will get into trouble depending on their choices.
Here are some Keys to Maintaining Open Communication with Your Children:
- Respect Goes Both Ways. You will never raise a respectful child who does not feel respected themselves. Talk to your children the way you would want them to talk to you. When you are angry and you yell they will learn this behavior and do the same. Children learn more from our own actions than they do from our words.
- Start When They Are Young. You should start when children are just at the age of being able to understand that their actions have consequences. This will ensure that communication and your expectations are understood from the start.
- Talk To Them, Ask The How They Feel, and Support Their Feelings! Too many parents raise their children with the idea that "I made you so I can make you do what I want you to!" This is the wrong attitude to have if you want children to respect others. Respect is earned and taught!
- Understand That No 2 Children Are Alike! How many times have you heard the phrase, "I wish you were more like your brother..." This is not only degrading to the child but it takes away their sense of autonomy and self worth. Acknowledging the differences between your children and playing on their individual strengths rather than their weaknesses goes a lot farther when communicating with your children.
- Remember: No One Is Perfect! Don't forget that you were once a kid yourself and you have made your share of mistakes along the way! Life is a journey and there is no definitive guide for being a good parent or person.
- Allow and Encourage Them To Be Themselves! Sometimes as parents our kids don't act, say, or feel the way we wished they did. That's OK! Think of how boring life would be if everyone was the same. Our children are the future and the world is made up of different personalities that create different ideas. Encourage your children to be unique and allow them to be themselves.
Communicating Effectively with our children will teach them how to communicate with others, be open-minded, and will allow them to feel comfortable when talking to you. This will be a great asset as your children get older and will make the transition into the teenage years much easier!
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Children Respond to Rewards for Good Behavior!
Setting Up a Behavioral System Based On Rewards and Sanctions
The single most important thing you can communicate to your children are your (realistic) expectations of them. Children do well in a structured environment and when they know what is expected of them they tend to want to impress their parents.
By setting up a system of Rewards and Sanctions, children not only know what is expected of them, but they will know the consequences and rewards for the choices they make.
Remember when you were in Kindergarten and you received a "Gold Star"? How did that make you feel? I bet you couldn't wait to run home an tell your parents about this huge accomplishment!
Here are Some Ideas for How To Set Up a Reward System:
- Have a Family Meeting. Sit down and discuss what your expectations are of your children. Have them write it down and form a contract.
- Create a Responsibility Chart by writing down daily, weekly and monthly expectations. This will allow the child to see visually what is expected of them and will allow them to monitor their progress and keep up with their goals.
- Reward Them as they accomplish their goals. This is not to say that every thing they do they should get a reward, but if one of the goals is to make their bed every day, they can get a special treat at the end of the week when they succeed. It could be as simple as eating ice cream!
- Sanction (I avoid the word "Punish") Their Negative Behaviors. This is the hardest part about parenting but it must be consistent. When your child misbehaves or does not accomplish what is expected of them we must take something of value away from them. Taking away Computer and Television time are very effective as that is often what kids value the most. "Time-Outs" work wonderfully for young children. The best way to moderate a time-out is by the child's age. For example, if your child is 5 years old, the time-out should be for 5 minutes, and so on.
Using these Guidelines can be beneficial for parents and children alike. You will have a plan that was created by everyone involved and children are more likely to follow the plan if they are involved in creating it.
Every family will have a different plan based on expectations and each child's abilities and needs. Listening to your children is the best way to communicate with them! They just might surprise you!
Over the Years...Click thumbnail to view full-size
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